BUILDING THE PERFECT LISTING
You have the option of setting house rules for your guests. Your house rules let prospective guests know how you expect them to behave when staying at your place.
There’s no penalty for cancelling if guests break your rules. However hosts who set fewer house rules tend to get more reservations.
Airbnb provide a few common suggested rules you may wish to set. You are also able to add any other rules you choose yourself:
Additional house rules can cover anything that’s important that you’d like your guests to know. This includes things like areas of your home that are out-of-bounds or permission to have visitors.
The house rules appear on your listing page so that guests can review them before requesting to book. This has the benefit of allowing hosts to be upfront in their expectations, as well as eliminating any surprises that guests only learn about to their disappointment throughout their stay.
Despite these benefits, it also has the potential to scare off guests that are considering staying at your place too. Being too heavy-handed with your house rules gives prospective guests the impression that you’re the kind of host that’s likely to be overbearing (even if the rules themselves are fair).
Therefore, the purpose of your house rules should simply be to increase transparency and clarity of your expectations. You’ll want to use your house rules as an opportunity to demonstrate your commitment to providing consistently positive experiences for all of your guests. Prospective guests should ideally see your house rules as an effort to create a great space that they will benefit from as much as you will.
Limit the Number of Rules you Mention
Whilst you’re theoretically able to cancel a booking without penalty if a guest breaks your rule, it’ll be a drawn-out and unpleasant process to bring into effect, and a scenario you’ll want to avoid if at all possible.
You may also find it a little hard to define a definitive list of things that are and are not permitted within your place.
With all of this in mind, any attempt to build an exhaustive list of every possible rule that covers every possible contingency is an exercise doomed to fail.
This problem is compounded by the risk of putting off guests by coming across as too heavy-handed with too many rules.
You therefore need to be selective in the house rules you choose to include. Limit these to the top 3-5 most important rules to you, if you decide to include any at all.
Don’t Dump Everything in House Rules
What constitutes a rule is a broad concept.
For example, is your maximum occupancy a potential house rule? Yes, but it is also something you’re able to specify as a booking setting.
It is important to be selective in what you choose to classify as a “house rule”. There may be things you consciously omit so you don’t give the impression of being an overbearing host.
Reserve precious house rule “real estate” exclusively for things that can’t be dealt with elsewhere.
Consider also whether you’re able to communicate any of these things during pre-arrival communications, the check-in process, in house manuals you develop, or other sections of your listing page (such as the Other things to note section).
Ensure that you save your house rules exclusively for calling out any critical expectations that prospective guests need to be aware of prior to booking a stay at your place and which can’t be called out anywhere else.
Limiting Rules are Better than Blanket Rules
Be Conscious of Guest Types
You wouldn’t explain road rules to your five year old child in the same way you’d be discussing them with your teenager that’s learning to drive.
Your audience matters in how you phrase your rules. This comes down to the type of guest you most commonly attract to your place.
For example, to an ethical traveler, your request to switch off the lights and air-conditioner when not in use could be phrased as being to help the environment. This is something they’d most likely willingly support.
Make sure that whenever describing your rules, you put yourself in the shoes of your target guests. Eliminate as many objections as you’re able to pre-empt by phrasing the rule in a way that will resonate and sit best with them.
W.I.I.F.M. (What’s In It For Me?)
When explained in this way, guests will more likely be understanding of your house rules once they appreciate what’s in it for them.
Hosts often ask for examples of the type of rules they should think about including on their Airbnb listings. Below is a summary of some common rule categories you may wish to include.
Do not view these as an exhaustive list that must be added in its entirety to the house rules section of your Airbnb listing. Rather, select the two or three that may be of most importance and relevance to you.
A problem-free track-record may indicate a lack of needing to implement any house rules at all. If this is the case for you, then view these examples as rules to keep up your sleeve for a time you feel it necessary to implement at your place:
- Access: Are there prohibitions on any areas that guests are and aren’t allowed access to?
- Amenities: Are there any rules for using any amenitiesor features of your home?
- Behavior: Do you have any expectations around the ways guests should be behavingwithin your space?
- Cleanliness: Are there any cleaning or cleanlinessexpectations?
- Damage: What are your expectationsaround spills or damage to property and being informed about incidents and accidents that take place?
- Drugs: What actions will be taken if illicit drugs are consumed on the property?
- Electricity: What expectationsor requirements do you have around lights, air-conditioning and heating being used?
- Noise: What limitations are there around making noise, the volume that music can be played at, or the times that guests are expected to be quieter?
- Security: Are there requirements to keep doors, gates or certain areas locked?
Ensure that any rules you decide to include comply with Airbnb’s Non-Discrimination policy.